I’ve often felt that cooking is not dissimilar from writing fiction. Characters are dealt their fates with the same sort of painstaking detail that goes into planning meals. Various permutations and combinations are mulled over and weighed out till it all comes together in a sudden crystal clear flash. Sometimes, however, you learn to sit back and celebrate the dissonance. This perhaps, is why I think it made perfect sense that my former armchair interest in cooking quickly turned into a full-fledged hobby (read welcome distraction) while I was pursuing my Masters in Creative Writing in the UK.
Food seems to be the one thing that’s always on the brain of every writer and my friends and I have often joked about our constant urge to reward ourselves with a cheeky treat for every paragraph that’s banged out. Most of my inner circle was happy to settle for microwaveable meals while juggling the demands of graduate life. In an interesting twist, I ended up cooking more elaborately than I ever had during my year away from home. My modest shared student kitchen played host to many an ambitious project and I found myself craving things I’d never before thought I would. From a velvety coconut-laden Malayali Meen Moilee – I still apologise to my flatmates for the strong odour of fried fish that clung to the walls for a good day after – to a spicy prawn biryani that was dished up to many eager guinea pigs straight out of a slow cooker (how’s that for ingenuity), I think I finally came into my own as a “cook” in Bath.
Good food for me is evocative and I have a bit of a reputation for enjoying talking about food as much as I do cooking. I think I first realised this when peers at fiction writing workshops in university observed how descriptions of what I grew up eating and loved, crept into my work ever so often. I’ve also worked for publications in Dubai as a lifestyle features writer and food was one of my niche beats. When I'm not in the kitchen, I spend most of my time working on my fiction. (Read published excerpts of my work here
Ink on my Apron was actually born as a bit of an accidental passion project late last year when I felt a compelling need to put pen to paper and journal various dishes I was trying out at home. I started uploading pictures accompanied with little memoiresque vignettes on Instagram and realised soon enough that the sort of writing I was doing came intrinsically and seemed to suit my voice as a short story writer.
I hope you’ll indulge me as I chronicle my memories, one plate at a time.